By on October 20, 2021

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has decided that residential lawn equipment is a major problem. Claims have been made that the small engines found inside of the average leaf blower emit the same amount of smog-forming pollution in a single hour as a 2016 Toyota Camry could produce over a 1,100-mile drive.

Assertions like these have been used to forward Assembly Bill No. 1346, which requires the board to define and then pull the trigger on new regulations designed “to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines” by 2022. CARB then has to decide whether or not it can outright ban them, so they may be replaced by zero-emission equivalents after 2024. Considering how decent most electrified tools have grown to be, this doesn’t sound infeasible. But it’s another example of California’s obsessive hatred of consumers utilizing liquid fuel and bound to have major ramifications. 

Small off-road engines (which CARB references as “SORE”) do indeed emit more nitrogen oxides and particulate matter than you might expect. But the board is oversimplifying things to advance its regulatory agenda, much in the same way we used to see motorcycles getting bashed for not processing catalytic converters.

Prior to 2010, most bikes didn’t have them. But CARB’s Tier 2 standards changed all of that and the organization went around fining anyone who had the balls to sell aftermarket or OEM pipes without emission-control devices. Fines went directly back to the California Air Resources Board, which is comprised entirely of unelected regulatory officials, and its multitude of programs. It was a successful imitative for the organization and it now seems interested in launching something similar for lawnmowers and weed whackers.

Here’s the truth of the matter. Small engines tend to emit substantially more hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides than your typical family sedan. But they’re also going to be more economical, requiring far less pumping and refinement of petroleum. They likewise require — and go into products using — a fraction of the resources and energy that an automobile would. This has remained true even as fuel injection and carbon capture have become normalized on motorcycles and some lawnmowers.

But small engines aren’t all equal and the increased regulatory pressures placed on motorcycles have encouraged the industry to move toward smaller engines and older hardware in a bid to keep prices down. Bike manufacturers also found themselves having to add equipment onto a vehicle that’s primary selling point (ignoring the fun factor) is how affordable it is to purchase and run. Meanwhile, cars cost significantly more have seen emissions compliance evolve over a much longer timeline — helping to mask the associated costs.

Consumer advocates are concerned that modifying lawn equipment to comply with new regulations will make them non-competitive against electric alternatives on a scope exceeding the Californian market. Fines may also become a problem, with companies selling gas-powered at an obvious disadvantage. Assuming the subsequent ban is similarly greenlit, those businesses would no longer be allowed to sell their equipment after 2024. But advocates are claiming that it’s all for the greater good, noting that motorcycles have become much cleaner to operate over the last few decades due to CARB’s regulatory action.

AB 1346 says it would offer incentive programs to people buying the new, zero-emission equipment and has set aside $30 million to help citizens and businesses replace their old hardware. It’s familiar to a lot of the legislation it’s been throwing around to help mainstream EVs. But the bill is currently written using a lot of vague terms with the Californian board having to define a course of action on the fly.

From Section 43018.11 to be added to the Health and Safety Code:

(a) (1) By July 1, 2022, the state board shall, consistent with federal law, adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines, as defined by the state board. Those regulations shall apply to engines produced on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as the state board determines is feasible, whichever is later.

(2) In determining technological feasibility pursuant to paragraph (1), the state board shall consider all of the following:

(A) Emissions from small off-road engines in the state.

(B) Expected timelines for zero-emission small off-road equipment development.

(C) Increased demand for electricity from added charging requirements for more zero-emission small off-road equipment.

(D) Use cases of both commercial and residential lawn and garden users.

(E) Expected availability of zero-emission generators and emergency response equipment.

(b) Consistent with the regulations adopted pursuant to this section and relevant state law, the state board shall identify, and, to the extent feasible, make available, funding for commercial rebates or similar incentive funding as part of any updates to existing, applicable funding program guidelines for districts to implement to support the transition to zero-emission small off-road equipment operations.

My take? While I don’t disagree that it’s objectively better to have lawn-care equipment that’s quieter and emits less pollution, California really needs to chill out. CARB’s initiatives often impact the rest of the United States and its latest regulatory efforts seem reactionary, poorly defined, and totally at odds with a free-market economy. Electric tools continue getting better and a lot of people are making the decision to transition away from gasoline-powered equipment anyway. Handicapping the industry’s competitive spirit via AB 1346 serves to do nothing more than punish half the market so the other can have an unfair advantage, all while CARB continues to line its pockets and gain influence.

[Image: David Schwimbeck/Shutterstock]

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82 Comments on “Gas War: California May Ban Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment...”


  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Just ban the blowers. Ban that useless lazy man’s rack everywhere and make using one punishable by hanging. Five minutes of mowing, 30 minutes of blowing grass clippings around in circles until they magically disappear. Think of the reduction in noise pollution alone. It’s a win win for the planet.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Ban pets

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If Californians came equipped with intelligence, they would focus on reducing noise, and particulates, instead of sodaburps.

      Blowers are a nuisance both noise wise, and because of all the dirt they lift into the air in dry, populated areas.

      Blowers are great for removing leaves from lanes and driveways, in paces where they get wet and slick. But if there ever was an activity which produces negative externalities, it is running blowers, particularly loud, gas, often 2 stroke, ones in dense areas.

      A buck per decibel-minute above 85 (or something. Or differentiated a bit between day and night, or ideally something more graduated) you expose anyone else to, would do wonders for reducing the abuse of blowers, yaptrash, low flying helicopters, straight pipe bikes etc.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        For years I had a little $99 gas-powered blower and after mowing and trimming my lawn I would use the blower for about 4 minutes (I’m a fast walker). Now I have a 60V electric blower and it also takes me about 4 minutes (less the time to prime and start, but that little guy always started pretty easily).

        The neighbor next to me has a very large commercial backpack gasoline blower (same size yard as me). Because of the much greater capability of his blower, he is able to complete the job in only about 40 minutes each time. (Sad face.)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ban politicians.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Small engines tend to emit substantially more hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides than your typical family sedan. But they’re also going to be more economical”

    By ‘economical’, I assume you mean they don’t cost much to run. That’s true, but only because consumers don’t operate them for long. Small engines are grossly inefficient, which is why economies of scale at the power plant make electric cars and lawn equipment so much cheaper to run.

    Since I’ve had my rechargeable lawnmower and leaf blower, I’ll never go back. No more spilled gas, pull starting, carb cleaner, spark plugs, choke fussing, and noise. Mfrs don’t build gas-powered lawn equipment for long service any more, nor it is cheap to repair. I got sick of dealing with balky equipment that was relatively new.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Economical refers to total cost. Fuel, maintenance, initial purchase, weight etc. Hail Mary’ing to minimize fuel use over the next 400,000 miles isn’t necessarily efficient resource allocation for mowing a suburban lawn. It’s the same story for mopeds, scooters and bikes. Just even more so, for smaller “hand tools.”

      Battery equipment work fine for small, well groomed lots and other light work. They completely stall once tasks get bigger. Great in San Francisco, pretty much a joke in rural Montana. Or even rural California for than matter. Not much different from transportation: Batteries work wonders for kick scooters, pedelecs and golf carts. Increasingly less so as energy demand rises. Battery powered snowblowers, are darned near useless even for front porches in snow’y areas.

      If you buy good quality equipment, it is still made to last. Orec stuff is built like tanks. Ditto BCS and other single axle tractors and attachments. For smaller stuff, Honda still builds lasting kit in my experience. I’m sure other good stuff exists as well. And they perform reliably at power levels which completely and utterly choke and destroy every plastic battery-something in every way. For smaller, particularly hand carried, stuff, battery tools are nice, trough: I’m one of the ones who are very excited about Makita’s new 40V (and 40Vx2) lines…. But not really for clearing brush for a firing range….

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        When you have a couple acres, electric just doesn’t work well. I know because i have had two high end electric trimmers (one is the new 40v) and they still don’t perform like my 4 stroke gas trimmer. Plus, where can I get a lawn tractor that will run 2 hours plus on a battery?

        Does this ban also include generators as they are SORE also.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        Having an electric mower would add a whole new dimensions to “Oops, I should have mowed this a few days ago.”

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Having an electric mower would add a whole new dimensions to “Oops, I should have mowed this a few days ago.”

          Actually the opposite. More torque and 4k rpm electrics can slice through grass that would kill a gas mower. The better ones sense that extra power is needed and crank up the power.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            It’s blade size, blade weight and power which determines what will be sliced through (assuming optimized other things like ejection). Not engine torque. The blade needs to impact grass/brush at a certain speed to cut it, or all it will do is get tied up. Low speed torque will, at most, allow this tying up to go on on a bit longer before stalling.

            For all their supposed torque advantages, I know of no electric match for something like an Orec Samurai for cutting down thick stuff. Maybe the Germans have something. They are supposedly experimenting with gigantic farm tractors powered by electricity, so I suppose nothing is impossible.

            Of course, a Samurai would be a royal, pointless pain on a tiny San Francisco lawn. And cities, not wide open country, are where small gas engines are the biggest nuisance. And for such smaller stuff, especially if expensive batteries are standardized and swappable so you can use the same ones for multiple tools, battery equipment is great. Which is why I’m excited about Makita’s 40Vx2 future. Despite “real pros” claiming 40V is pointless and stupid for a drill driver…

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “Battery powered snowblowers, are darned near useless even for front porches in snow’y areas.”

        That you are correct on. That’s one thing they haven’t perfected. It’s wet snow that gives them trouble. Drier snow up to a foot they don’t have a problem. The problem with the one I tried was that the second stage motor was underpowered. If they boosted the second stage motor and maybe a little redesign of the second stage chute, I think it would be fine. Again, that was only with wet snow. It launched dry snow into orbit with the higher RPM than a gas snow blower.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It takes a fair amount constant power, to break up and throw snow. And for constant high power need tasks, energy density moves to the fore. And for that, gas is simply an order of magnitude ahead of batteries.

          Intermittent loads, is where electrics (or hydrauics, or pneumatics…) shine. But snow throwing simply is not one of those. Honda does sell a Japanese hybrid snowblower here, where the (more intermittent power need) track drive, is electric; while the actual auger and fan is powered directly by the engine. Best of both worlds in many ways. But bigger, heavier and more expensive than what most Americans care to pay for a snowblower.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I think electric will be fine for most residential users, however what about all the commercial landscapers, parks, large areas that require mowing. Every mile of highway in this country requires mowing near the road surface.

      It all adds up to an incredible amount of CO2 emissions I am sure, 2 stroke engines like those on blowers and trimmers are crazy dirty.

      I generally think it is a good idea, but what will commercial landscapers do? Their rigs will have to hold hundreds of pounds of spare batteries just to get through a few hours let alone the whole day. How will they charge while out on the road? Do they even make electric commercial large deck zero turn radius mowers that would be suitable for large areas running 10 hours a day? Are you going to make every municipality in California buy electric tractors to knock down all the grass, weeds, etc along every mile of road in the state?

      Great in theory, but unworkable in practice I think on a statewide scale….at least right now. I think initially there will have to be exceptions for lawn companies or a later phase in date to allow for the development of the necessary equipment. I apologize for not reading all 50 something comments, hopefully not duplicating comments made by others.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        “Do they even make electric commercial large deck zero turn radius mowers that would be suitable for large areas running 10 hours a day?”

        Kind of.

        Gravely makes a commercial grade zero turn with a supposed 5 hour battery life that costs approximately double what a gas equivalent does. Not very realistic at the moment.

        https://www.gravely.com/en-us/power-equipment/electric/pro-turn-ev

        “I generally think it is a good idea, but what will commercial landscapers do?”

        Unmentioned in the article is that engines of >25 hp are exempt, which will cover pretty much every commercial user. This law is directed at homeowners.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        The commercial guys can just have a generator on their trailer with the mowers and use one battery while two or three batteries are charging.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I’m a big EV takeover skeptic, but electric lawn equipment is the way to go for pretty much any homeowner who isn’t a commercial operator.

    My concerns about recharge time, range, etc obviously disappear for equipment that only runs for a couple hours at most, I don’t have the same kind of passion for droning lawn equipment as I do for a powerful car’s exhaust note, and I hate the combo of small engine carbs and ethanol with a passion.

    I already have an EGO trimmer and chainsaw, and once they make a reasonably priced zero turn that can mow my yard without a recharge I’ll swap there as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      To mow my 6 acre wooded lot would take me about 12 hours if I wanted to do a real good job. I’d often cut it down to about 3 hours by doing only what was necessary. Still if I still had to I’d just rebuild the engine and trans till I got too old to bother and then pay someone to do it. Then again I should plant a drought tolerant yard and forget about mowing all together. Also knowing California I’m sure I could get $1000 or two to help with the change. Probably not as big a deal as you would fear.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I have an electric blower and trimmer and they have both been fine. IMO, electric power washers still leave a lot to be desired though. Generators are another place where if think fossil fuels still hold a decent edge, with electric alternatives either being low-output “power stations” or bulky/expensive solar options.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I have mixed feelings on the saws, they’re great for the usual cut here and there yard chores of saplings and fallen branches but my Greenworks will kill its 240 Wh battery in just a couple of minutes of real work. Still keeping the Stihl around too.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Our 12″ Makita w/two 18v batteries, lasts 1/2 hour with continuous use trimming branches from felled Ash trees before needing a recharge. I was and am amazed with this saw – we’ve been using it regularly for 3 years. The same batteries are used in our Makita string trimmer, drill, sawzall, and the much hated by some here, leaf blower. There are some small lawn/property care tools that cannot be replaced here on our 5 acres – our old JD 345 for mowing and our rear tine tiller for gardening.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    It’s a pretty extreme law, 2022 is right around the corner.

    People will have less disposable income. If your old mower dies, it’s one thing. If your mower, like mine, is 10 years old and works fine, it’s another.

    It is a complex issue–America is suburbia after all. As Matt states, lawn equipment uses a fraction of fuel. My small house, this summer, I have consumed less than two gallons… On the other hand, my mower has probably spewed 22 gallons worth of pollution, that’s about two months of fuel in my summer car.

    My neighbor just got an electric mower, he likes it. I always hated 2-stroke engines, so I have a battery operated blower, and I use a corded hedge trimmer. They are NOT as effective as 2-stroke, but I’m OK.

    I am not a zealot, but I am aware, another reason I don’t like 2-stroke, which I feel/think are huge polluters.

    However, I’m all for this measure, as written, in California. It is so arrogant and unforgiving. The CARB may be unelected, but who appoints these people? The people of California have made their bed–let them sleep in it! They must certainly want this. And whatever adverse impact it has on the mower industry, should be slow, and give the rest of us time to try to set aside money for the electric mower (which will further stress our strained electric grid…)

  • avatar
    eamiller

    “This has remained true even as fuel injection and carbon capture have become normalized on motorcycles and some lawnmowers.”

    What technology, pray tell, performs “carbon capture” on motorcycles and lawn mowers?? Surely you don’t think that a catalytic converter performs “carbon capture”, which would mean you probably failed high school chemistry.

    Then again, none of this is surprising coming from you, Matt. You have a habit of speaking of things you know nothing about.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    “But it’s another example of California’s obsessive hatred of consumers utilizing liquid fuel and bound to have major ramifications. ”

    Hey Matt, do you recognize any bias and hyperbole in that sentence? I certainly hope so but I can’t be sure. Maybe you are a true believer.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Yeah I noticed. It’s probably because I think CARB is often misguided, fond of bullying, and has no concept of what a free market entails.

      Regulation is sometimes necessary. But regulators don’t know that. They are always a hammer in search of nails.

  • avatar
    Margarets Dad

    “Claims have been made that the small engines found inside of the average leaf blower emit the same amount of smog-forming pollution in a single hour as a 2016 Toyota Camry could produce over a 1,100-mile drive.”

    “Claims” and “assertions”? Any proof that this isn’t true? Or were you just looking to throw shade in the laziest way possible? Given your track record, that’s my guess.

  • avatar
    Margarets Dad

    “Assertions like these have been used to forward Assembly Bill No. 1346, which requires the board to define and then pull the trigger on new regulations designed “to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines” by 2022.”

    “Those regulations shall apply to engines produced on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as the state board determines is feasible, whichever is later.”

    So… which one is it, 2022 or 2024? As they used to say on TV, Reading Is Fundamental, Matt.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      That’s explained in the second paragraph and I link directly to Assembly Bill No. 1346 in the article if you want to go to the source.

      Good luck with your misguided rage. Try to have a good day.

  • avatar
    IH_Fever

    The electric tools work well for their intended purpose: Light duty homeowner jobs. I use an electric trimmer at the house and it works good enough. When it’s time to do anything more the gas tools come out. It’s easy to tout the advantages of electric when you never have to mow more than the little patch of grass in front of your patio home. For the record, I’d love it if small engines polluted less, but banning them for all use is just asinine.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    And this has what to do with cars?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Maybe we’ll see a shootout covering riding lawn mowers? 0 – 60 times, 1/4 acre times, cornering etc.

      Just another excuse to rant against emissions laws. This isn’t new news. Dirt bikes will be affected but this is “The Truth About Cars” not “The Truth about Dirt Bikes”.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Because next thing you know, some car mfr might decide to produce an electric car, and California will love it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    2-stroke emissions really are a disaster. I think it probably would have been sufficient to ban 2-stroke engines and require 4-stroke ones to have modern emissions equipment, which tilts the weight and cost balance in favor of electrics for normal homeowners will still allowing a gas option for commercial operators and people with huge properties.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The only issue will be in commercial applications. 4 strokes are heavy. I wouldn’t want to be a logger having to pack a 4 stroke power saw.

      You cannot buy new 2 stroke snowmobiles and the same can be said for 2 stroke boat motors. You can still buy motocross and race enduro bikes in a two stroke configuration. They are a bit lighter and performance isn’t really better than 4 strokes.

      One does loose power when going from a 4 stroke “offroad only” bike to a “dual sport” street legal bike. You loose 10 hp going from a KTM 350 EXC offroad race bike to the street version (45 versus 35 hp) and gain around 3 pounds. In the real world you’ll only notice that in deep sand or a long uphill.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “You cannot buy new 2 stroke snowmobiles”

        What????? Good grief, go on Polaris’s website and school yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          MitchConner

          Watching Lou repeatedly step on rakes then pretend that he didn’t is all in good fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Carlson Fan – my bad. I thought 2 stroke sleds were banned.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            If I’m not mistaken, Bombardier (a Canadian company, BTW) owns Polaris and Evinrude (which makes outboard boat motors). Evinrude has a 2-cycle outboard engine that they call “E-Tec.” It apparently uses GDI and all kinds of fancy electronics . . . and thereby passes emission tests. My neighbor has a 150 hp E-tech motor and I can tell you that it doesn’t smoke and its exhaust is odorless. In US National Parks, such as Yosemite, that allows concessionaires to conduct snowmobile tours in winter, the engines must pass both noise and emissions tests. So, don’t count out two stroke yet.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Carlson Fan – thanks for the rebuttal.

          I’m obviously not a sled guy. I looked at a bunch of manufacturer web sites. I was surprised at the diversity of products.

          At least I didn’t refer to them all generically as “Skidoo’s” ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Lou – No worries, I suspect in time the snowmobile market, despite the current popularity of 2S engines, will follow suit with what has happened in the outboard motor market. Evinrude(Owned by Bombadier) is dead. With that I’m not sure you can buy a 2S outboard motor anymore. My employer makes parts for PolarisI & they are developing electric off-road recreational vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Carlson Fan – In Canada you can no longer buy new 2 stroke outboards from mainstream brands. Emissions laws effectively killed them off.

            I have a 80’s era Johnson 9.9 2 stroke. You can’t kill the thing. I bought an electric motor. I’ll use the electric mostly. The 9.9 is good for pushing my 12 ft. Lund across bigger lakes then I drop the electric.

            I had assumed that 2 stroke sleds were dead because I had read years ago about bans. I made the mistake of assuming that had happened. I was surprised to read about turbo 2 strokes. Whenever I heard of a turbo sled I assumed it had to be a 4 stroke.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Yes Los Angeles still has some smog issues, so just ban everything gas/diesel/etc from the place. Perfect, yeah go for it. Then let the CARB cancer spread from there as need be, major cities, etc.

    Why do they feel everyone has to suffer along with them?

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The native americans called that area the valley of smoke, long before cars were invented. That area will always collect particulates in the air so there will always be less quality there.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        “Even in 1542, Southern California’s air quality was in question”, an article from the San Luis Obispo Tribune dtd 22Aug15. I remember reading way back in the ’60s when the pollution was really ridiculous that the Native Americans (Indians) of Southern California referred to the area as the “Valley of the Smokes” prior to the arrival of Europeans so this is not new. Anyone wanting to do research on this had better do it quickly before it gets scrubbed by “fact checkers”…

  • avatar
    mpalczew

    They also banned gas powered chain saws. Which they will need to clear out underbrush to prevent large mega fires. Shooting ourselves in the foot here.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      This how you know California is full of sh!t. They would rather have massive wildfires.

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      Build thousands of homes in a forest that you know is going to burn. Then whine about forest fires burning so many homes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Build thousands of homes in a forest that you know is going to burn.”

        My understanding of California wildfires is that it typically occurs in “Chaparral” which is a mixture of shrubs, bushes etc. with some trees interspersed. It isn’t purely forest. Obviously there are forested areas that also burn.

        Wildfires are the main problem in California but typically once fire season is over and large areas of vegetation have been denuded, we then see mud slides once the wet season hits.

        There is a problem of building homes in the middle of high risk areas. That isn’t necessarily a problem confined to California. California has wildfires and mud slides. Southern coastal areas of the USA are always at risk of hurricanes and severe coastal storms. Many settlements are also built along river flood plains. These high risk areas tend to be prime real-estate locations.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Thats nuts, homeowner grade battery saws exist and are pretty good from what I hear. But in a commercial and or fire fighting application, gas powered saws are the only option. As they just need to work, and the logistics of charging a battery on a wildfire application is not realistic.

  • avatar
    Dan

    My delight at seeing something, somewhere done about those goddamned leaf blowers was immediately tempered by reading the rest of the article. There’s no substitute for gas for most of that stuff.

    And as go those fruits and nuts so go the rest of us a couple of years later.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    riIn another year I will not need to worry about lawns or lawn equipment. For heavy duty use gas is still better but for smaller yards electric works great and is quieter. Let California do what California does and the more they regulate things and the higher the costs and taxes the more people will leave California. The only problem is as those Californians move elsewhere more of them will want to bring some of those regulations to where they move. A vicious circle.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The more you pay in taxes, and employ more people, the faster California wants rid of you. And if you see homeless folk while you’re out, tell them California wants them bad.

      No one cares. Those running California (into the ground) will be dead and buried by the time California becomes a real sh!t hole.

      What’s an “Exit Tax? Only California can dream that one up.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        “Exit Tax”. When I retired from the Navy while homeported in San Diego, the state of California decided to levy a “Source Tax” on my military retirement check, a levy that would last my lifetime while receiving my retirement pay from the US Government regardless of where I lived on the face of the Earth. Their theory was that since I had retired in California I owed them state income tax due to just being there when I became eligible for my retirement pay. I moved back East and California sent me threat letters for unpaid “Source Tax” for three or four years before finally giving up.

  • avatar

    I own electric blower since 2001. It is not battery powered and it is loud. I attach extension cord long enough for my patio and front yard but rarely use it because Jose comes every Thursday morning to do his job.

    I agree we need to get rid of gas powered staff. It is archaic. The best way is to introduce regulations – establish exhaust noise limits and emission control. It sure it will considerably increase prices and that’s the goal.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @ILO,

      Extension cords cause cancer (in the state of California, and perhaps in other locales too):

      https://conntek.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/power-cords-and-cancer-risks/

      Please take care for your health.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    California now has 6 million more people today than were here in 2000. Total number of new power plants built in that time: 0
    SCE took San Onofre offline for decommissioning so I believe we’re at a net loss for power generation. Since then, electric cars have introduced demand that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

    We’re all on board with cutting down on pollution. Can we kindly ask that Newsom and the morons in Sacramento now remove their heads from the rectums of the labor unions and land developers long enough to understand power needs of the state?

    Ah, forget it. CA politicians are only focused on the next election cycle – they think that’s their job. And Newsom is too obsessed with making sure nothing bad happens to PG&E. Can’t have them held accountable for all of the fires they’ve started due to poor maintenance of lines and equipment. So what if they were found guilty of manslaughter.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Are you sure that the PG&E fires aren’t caused by ground currents? Decades ago CA sub-transmission lines were exclusively delta connected which is inherently balanced, and ground currents do not enter the equation, so to speak. Other utilities went to 4 wire Y connections with grouded neutrals, because the power transmitted is 3VI instead of (sqrt3)VI. More efficient for the same insulation levels, but subject to ground currents if a phase fails.

      CA’s approach was different enough to be a topic of conversation four decades ago at utilities all the way out to here in Eastern Canada. The reason they did it delta out there was because the ground resistivity was very high, so ground currents could generate serious local heat if Y connections were used and gross unbalance occurred for some reason. We ourselves saw a complete wipeout of the telco’s wiring in a high resistivity 30 mile stretch of ground, when the current decided copper phone wires were easier to follow than to tunnel through granite, when we had a major fault 35 years ago, so understood CA’s caution. Seemed exemplary at that time.

      What I don’t know is how CA operates its electric utility system these days. But if they went wye, er Y, to save money on new equipment, well thar’s yer problem right there, son, as to how the electric system can cause fires in high resistivity areas. If not, and they’ve remained pure in an engineering sense, then I haven’t a clue. But politics is unlikely to figure in as a reason for fires, just the neoliberal profit at all cost running things at the edge and crossing yer fingers for hope way of life — if, and I say if, PG&E uses Y connected three phase distribution these days. Hell, you’re an engineer just as I was (now retired) — how many times did dull management prevent using the safe and elegant solution just to save a buck, in your career?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      “Ah, forget it. CA politicians are only focused on the next election cycle ”

      Uh correction, that’s ALL politicians.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    It’s time to move past hideously-emitting gas-powered lawn equipment. Don’t let the fools on Faux and teh interwebs tell you that polluting is what makes you Great Again.

    Reject Freedumb.

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    I am so glad to have moved out of that idiotic state.

    It’s got leadership with ideals based on fantasy empowered by a dumb, fiscally illiterate electorate that apparently enjoys getting crapped on by an endless clique of clowns drunk off the smell of their own farts.

    If a bakery smells like fresh baked bread outside — CARB makes them purchase air handlers to eliminate the smell because they consider it pollution. Meanwhile a government owned sewage treatment plant can stink like butt muffins to high heaven no problem.

    During the winter, spare the air days are declared so you can’t build a fire. Duraflame makes clean burning logs. Well CARB says you can’t burn those, either. Why? Because they can — even though the emissions are not there. And spare the air days are declared simply when it’s cold out — regardless of air conditions.

    Best of all, California’s business environment forces manufacturing to go to China — where you can throw as much filth into the air and water as you want. A net loss for the planet. But do you see any of those dopes like Newsom propose a tariff on bunker oil burning container ships (which are responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions) to drive the cost of Chinese goods up — then using the revenue to encourage manufacturing to return so stuff can be made with less environmental impact? And, you know, maybe get some of its highly impoverished areas (basically everywhere outside of San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego) working again? Nah. Just jack up the price of gas with a carbon tax (that does nothing to reduce emissions) and ban natural gas from new home construction or some other stupid way to hassle people with no major benefit to the environment while Jerry Brown hops on a private jet to Paris for a summer vacation.

    Those nose in the air morons all think they’re so much smarter than everybody else, too, even though their thinking suggests they ate a ton of paint chips loaded with lead when they were kids. And they’re only getting worse.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Missing entirely from this Posky masterpiece of theatre is the technical reason for CARB’s new rule. Do we get gaslit much here or what? And not for the first time. Modern bureaucracy and political parties operate propaganda by the simple use of omission. Works on the rubes damn near every time, so the masters of its use can look forward to a life of pleasantly-paid PR work in a number of well-remunerated areas where public opinion is to be steered to a pre-engineered position. Usually it involves generating distaste of foreigners without actually saying so.

    In this case, however:

    “CA claims an hour using a gas leaf blower makes as much pollution as driving a 2016 Toyota Camry 1100 miles, so it’s electric lawn equipment only after 2024.”

    Seems as good a reason as any to ban leafblowers at any rate. But this fact isn’t mentioned, so the commentariat as usual mounts its high horses and gallops off in all directions at once.

    Well done, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Missing entirely from this Posky masterpiece of theatre is the technical reason for CARB’s new rule.”

      Did you read the first paragraph?
      He also linked to the actual text of the bill on the CA legislature website, linked to the relevant information page of the CARB website, and cited the entire section 2 of the bill in the text of the article.
      What more reporting would you want from Matt here?

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Are those emissions from a 2 stroke or 4 stroke blower?

      FTR: I have an electric blower.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about encouraging environmentally friendly landscape that needs little to no maintenance. Reduce demand for power lawn equipment while not increasing demand for electricity. California already has brownouts and adding to the demands of the power grid does not make any sense. Of course you are dealing with politicians like Newsome who have no idea where the extra electricity to power all electric vehicles and power equipment comes from. Need to get engineers involved in planning environmental issues besides politicians and environmentalists. Reducing the need for outdoor power equipment would make the most sense and would also reduce the water usage as well. Common sense is no longer common. How about thinking outside the box.

  • avatar
    beachy

    Wish they would do this in Texas. Ungodly noise and dust, the ’employees’ of the landscaping companies have no hearing protection or masks. If California does this then reasonable alternative equipment will be developed and become available for everyone. And what does this have to do with The Truth About Cars? Let’s just call it a gas war so Posky will have another excuse to carp and whine and misrepresent facts in defense of stinky, noisy old tech.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    If CA cared about air quality they would figure out how to stop the annual wild fires.

    WRT to lawn equipment, I doubt it’s a significant source of pollution in total.

    What I do think should be banned are leaf blowers. They blow a lot of nasty particulates into the air. It would be far better to vacuum up yard debris vs. simply blowing it to an adjacent area.

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    I hate excess legislation and politicians but lawnmowers ARE a problem.
    So are leafblowers. People walking around with motors on their back
    churning up dust. If we reduced our pollution from lawnmowers, you could
    drive your ICE car a while longer before the Feds mandate a new $60K electric car for you.

    Pollution from lawnmowers, laundry effluent, diesels, cars that don’t run right, and leaf blowers make me cough for hours after minor exposure. Yes, not all people are as tough and resilient as you.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    California really is trying their best to make life miserable for everyone still there.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If we are banning things maybe CA should also ban HOAs and local governments from having yard maintenance ordinances.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    My own anecdotal evidence here….

    When we purchased a house about 6 years ago we got a 40V mower. It worked fine for the weeds and thin grass we had at the time for a 1/4 acre lot. We got a lawn company to put fertilizer and weed treatment down, and by the next year we had thick, lush Bermuda grass. Even with two batteries, I could only get half the yard done. I went and got the largest engine gas push mower I could find, and I haven’t looked back.

    I have a neighbor who moved in about the same time we have, who uses an electric mower where he has burned up two of them because his grass is two thick.

    I have another neighbor with an 80V mower and he can do his whole 1/4 acre lot with 3 batteries..barely. It was 600 dollars with two batteries and 200 bucks for just the third battery. I only go through 3-4 gallons of gas a year.

    When it comes to string trimmers, edgers, and blowers, I’m all for battery powered. I currently have 80v versions of all, and they work great for my yard. They still are more expensive up front and possibly long term, but they seem to have close to as much power. I have had a battery die on me after about 3 years of use.

    What are they going to do about riding lawn mowers where there really isn’t that much going in in battery powered? What about pressure washers? The maximum PSI from an electric pressure washer is about 1200psi. There currently are no replacements for 4000PSI gas pressure washers.

  • avatar
    SnarkIsMyDefault

    For the Boomers out there, and those with Boomer think, you have to realize how many have been trained to think Carbon Dioxide is a poison. The exhaust might be squeeky clean by the standards of of 1984 but that CO2 will cause Global Warming and Acid Oceans and doom us all.

    Best you adjust your comments

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Here in the Oklahoma exurbs, there are no Teslas, Leafs or Bolts. There are no Costcos or Sams Clubs; those things are 45 miles away. Big shopping trips are 125 miles away. We’re fortunate the grocery store is ten miles away and I’m glad there’s more than one.

    God’s country.

    There are no 1/4 acre lots so no push mowers around here; there are no battery powered lawn tractors either. They just won’t work. As much as the CARB wishes it, they will never be here.

    I empathize with them; I’m concerned with my carbon footprint. I’m driving less (like everybody else) because of Covid concerns; that’s good. I wish my mowing would take just 5 petrol gallons, but I’m on my fourth 5-gallon fill-up so far this mowing season.

    However, my carbon footprint is nothing compared to Elon Musk. Wonder how many gallons to fuel a rocket ship for a ten minute ride. When are the CARB folks going to outlaw rocket ships. Now his move to Texas makes sense.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @burnbomber–Agree. Suburban Oklahoma is not as congested as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, or Houston so the same standards for pollution should not apply. Same for those of us who drive our well maintained older vehicles 10 years or more but drive below the average number of miles. Much less of an impact and definitely better environmentally to keep a vehicle properly maintained and keep it longer than the environmental impact of producing new cars. I do fear as some have expressed above that the rest of the country seems to follow what California does and what works in Los Angeles does not necessary work in Tulsa.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Most lawn care equipment comes in 20v; 40v; or 60v formats from lawn mowers, to edgers, to blowers. I already have 20v power tools, so moving to battery lawn equipment is a natural progression. I do feel for the professional landscapers who will need a stack of batteries to cover a day’s work.

    My only complaint is the alarming number of nuclear power plants which have recently shut down. Some of this lost power is backfilled with carbon emitting coal or natural gas plants…..especially in Europe.
    Go tell that to your California Eco Terrorist as he rides his Lear jet to the upcoming Eco summit in Scotland this fall.

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